By Sean Maddox
“Sure boss; I can do that.”
My conclusion at the end of a call with my editor. Contact a few law enforcement agencies; ask a couple questions about their public education programs and engagement. If lucky, be sent to a website or two. Unfortunately, my general questions about whom to speak to at the enforcement agencies about their work with the public on auto and truck theft education and prevention has not been answered. In all cases, I am still waiting for an answer. They are all looking into my questions.
Not like our papers and radios are not full of reports about stolen cars and trucks. From kids starting down the dark road of joy riding to the sophisticated theft of high-end vehicles and trucks landing in ports around the world. It does not seem to matter these days what your driving, all vehicles are a target. Last year the most popular vehicle stolen in Canada was the Ford F150 truck. In Canada, more than 200 autos are stolen every day. Many exported right out of the country through the ports in Halifax.
The loss to Canadians is estimated at over $1 Billion; over fifty percent paid by the insurance industry, affecting all our rates. Whether for parts, the vehicle, or just valuable metals the theft rate has become a national concern. We all need to take note.
Looking around there are agencies working with the government to try to educate the public, companies and industries educating consumers about the cost and inconvenience of theft. Also, about precautions that we can all take to help stop the thieves. Not surprisingly, most public information on preventing theft is produced by the insurance industry. From the Insurance Bureau of Canada to NFP, companies and associations are working to educate the public. It is just good business.
Another fantastic resource aside from Auto and Trucking Atlantic is the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA .ca). The website and public information has a lot of information on theft, deterrence, what to do if it happens. Even how to plan you next road trip to reduce risks for you and yours.
Researching this article, I found that most tips for protecting your vehicles, belongings and loved ones comes down to using the vehicle and your smarts. Use the locks at all times. Do not leave vehicles unattended while running. Engage the parking break, hide valuables and do not leave pets or children unattended. Steering wheel or gas locks are still a cheap deterrent. Theft only takes seconds, as I learned 20 years ago
What we need to change are our habits. Park in well-lit and secure areas. Lock valuables in the truck. Report theft and break-ins on local or national registries. Secure compounds. How many cars and trucks have been stolen right off company compounds this year alone?